Workload issues & short staffing at Fresh Hope Coffs Harbour

HSU Members at Fresh Hope Coffs Harbour have recently raised concerning workload issues and have reported acute, unsafe staffing levels.

Members report they are regularly working double shifts and, in at least one case, have worked a triple shift. HSU members say that the staff shortages are due to recent high turnover and management not replacing vacancies with new staff fast enough.

Ongoing short staffing like this is simply not sustainable. HSU members are exhausted and filling the gaps with agency staff is not a viable solution.

HSU members may not be getting their appropriate breaks between shifts, meaning that people are coming to work fatigued and at a greater risk of injury to themselves or to a resident.

You and your colleagues have rights around workloads and breaks, what is a reasonable amount of overtime. You also have a right to refuse overtime.

Breaks between shifts

Unless you agree otherwise you must receive a minimum break of eight hours between ordinary shifts, or ten hours between broken shifts, rostered on successive days. Members should not be coerced or bullied into returning to work without having their appropriate break.

If an employee agrees to work without an appropriate break as set out in in the enterprise agreement, they will be paid at overtime rates.

Rest breaks and meal breaks

It’s important that you are able to take appropriate breaks. This is essential for fatigue management and is designed to ensure that both you and the residents are safe. If you are having difficulty getting off the floor you should ask that your breaks be rostered.

Under your enterprise agreement, you are entitled to:

Workload management clause

Your enterprise agreement contains a workload management clause that provides for a group, or individual, to raise workload issues relating to staff shortages, increased resident demands, or for any other reason. To raise an issue, a group or individual should discuss the issue with the coordinator or supervisor of that work unit in the first instance. This should be reported to management within 24 hours where possible. If no agreement on a response can be reached, members can contact their union and request a meeting can be organised to work through the issues.

Workload management is also to be an agenda item at staff meetings on at least a monthly basis. This is also an opportunity for you to formalise and record ongoing staff shortages and workload issues through meeting minutes.

Your employer has a responsibility to provide a safe working environment. If you have any specific examples or concerns, please contact your local organiser Kirk Rostock at [E-Mail not displayed].

Do you know someone who isn’t an HSU member? Encourage them to join our Union today and have a say at work. We are always stronger when we stand together.

New members can join at or call 1300 478 679.